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Advice for Joining Up with Another Entrepeneur?

TheFunded.com Advice

Posted by Anonymous on 2010-11-18

PUBLIC:

I'm in the middle of discussing joining up with a Technical Founder for a B2B play. He found me via linkedin and we've been talking for the last month. He's based on the East Coast and I'm located in Silicon Valley. He seems like a very solid guy, has good experience and seems very passionate and hard working. He's been developing the product for over one year, on his own dime, and has a first meeting with a pretty large tier 1 customer. His idea has competition from some well funded startups and one public company, but i think the market will have a few winners. He's convinced his angle is unique. He proposed that i join up with him with the below terms.

25% ownership, cofounder title
4yr vesting, 1yr cliff
VP BD, he maintains CEO role
Must have milestones to achieve re customer acquisition, funding, partnerships

A couple of issues i'm concerned about:

1. He feels that his majority ownership makes sense since he's spent a year developing the technology and all that's left is customers. He also feels that his technology is valuable because apparently an investor said that they'd give him $1M once he gets 3 customers on board.
2. He wants me to raise money asap, @ $150k, with no customers/traction only one person in the company, lots of established competition in the general space
3. He wants to maintain CEO role and be able to override business decisions if he feels he needs to

I have a few concerns:

1. His proposed split gives me the impression that the hard work in the company is already done and the easy stuff is sales, raising money, building out the company...
2. Getting investors to put money into a first time entrepeneur, with no customers or proof points in the market, no team, is not very realistic and is not the right time to do that.
3. Coming up with milestones that may be affected based on initial market reaction to his product is very tricky. I have no problem with having milestones, but don't want to set myself up for failure

I have 20yrs experience in BD, VC and starting my own sw company and am ready to take on a role like this. I just want to make sure that i'm committing myself to the right partner and not jumping into something that has too many red flags. Any advice/guidance is greatly appreciated!

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